The move from primary to secondary school can be one of the most significant milestones in a child’s life. It can present new challenges and opportunities to them but can also come with a lot of anxiety and stress – for both you and your child. It is vital to get them ready for the exciting world of secondary school, the space where they will go from child to young adult.
It is essential to ensure they have a good balance of social life, education, and independence to truly set them up for the world outside of school. From selecting the right school to travelling on their own, here are some ways to help your kids prepare for secondary school life.
Take Them To Visit Potential Schools
It is crucial that your kids have a say in the school they attend. While it is vital that they are in the best place to continue their education, it is also important to ensure that they go to a school where they will be happy. It can help to prepare a list of questions to ask while you’re being shown around.
You should consider attending open days at a few different schools so that your child can get an idea of what to expect. Ensure that you listen to their opinions on each place and decide together about which school they attend.
Nurture Their Independence
With secondary school comes a big shift to independence. They will usually be in a much larger building compared to their primary school and will be expected to get themselves to the right places and classes on time, with all the right equipment. This is one of the most significant differences between primary and secondary school.
You can help your kids get ready for this level of independence. You should tell them what to expect and try different ways to prepare them. For instance, in the months before they go to secondary school you could give them chances to organise their own time, send them to run small errands alone and see their friends without parents present.
Choose The Right School
As mentioned above, it is crucial that you choose a school that your child will thrive within. You know your kids best, so you will be best placed to identify this – with their input, of course. It is best to choose more than one school to have a backup should your first choice fall through.
Consider A Tutor
The score your child achieves on the 11 plus exam can help your children gain coveted spaces in grammar and independent schools. Competition is fierce for spots in these schools, so if you and your child have your hearts set on getting a place, it is best to find a tutor to help them prepare and give them the best chance of success.
You can find tutors that specifically cater to preparing children in years 4 and 5 to sit the 11 plus exam. It is a good idea to look for tutors that offer 11 plus online tests so that your children can practice an exam before they sit it. For more information on how to prepare your child for the 11 plus, visit testteach.co.uk.
Decide With Them How They Will Get To School
Another element of independence that will come from going to secondary school is travelling to and from school. Often this might include navigating public transport alone for the first time. It is a good idea to do a test run of their trip to school beforehand so that they know how to get where they need to go. You could do this with them and allow them to go alone as well.
Encourage Them To Discuss Their Feelings
The transition from primary to secondary schooler can come with a wide range of emotions, from anxiety to excitement. It is essential to encourage your children to discuss their feelings openly, whether good or bad. Let them know that whatever they feel is valid and that you will be there to support them no matter what. It can also help to find ways together to overcome nerves.
Help Them Stay Connected With Old Friends
Moving from primary to secondary school can mean that your child will be separated from the friends they’ve known and spent their school life with for years. This can be another challenging transition, but it is crucial to help them in any way you can. This can include giving them plenty of opportunities to continue seeing their friends, even after they have all moved to different schools.
It may be tempting to allow your child to go to a secondary school where some of their primary school friends will be attending. It is essential to balance your child social needs with their education, so it may be best to consider other ways for your child to stay in touch with primary school friends instead.